Evolutionary Epistemology and the Aim of Science

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):209-225 (2010)
Authors
Darrell P. Rowbottom
Lingnan University
Abstract
Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically adequate theories; or (4) successive generations of theories of increasing proximity to empirical adequacy. Furthermore, it illustrates that appeals to induction do not appear to help. It concludes that an evolutionary analogy is only sufficient to defend the notion that the aim of science is to isolate a particular class of false theories, namely those that are empirically inadequate.
Keywords Evolutionary Epistemolgy  Popper  Van Fraassen  Aim of Science  Scientific Realism  Constructive Empiricism
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DOI 10.1080/00048400903367866
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References found in this work BETA

Objective Knowledge.Karl R. Popper - 1972 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.
The Scientific Image.C. Van Fraassen Bas - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2006 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Aimless Science.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2014 - Synthese 191 (6):1211-1221.
Shifting to Structures in Physics and Biology: A Prophylactic for Promiscuous Realism.Steven French - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):164-173.
What Scientific Progress Is Not: Against Bird's Epistemic View.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):241-255.
Constructive Empiricism: Normative or Descriptive?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):604-616.

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